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2015 Community Prospect Rankings: Taylor Sparks is #21

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Ceiling: Todd Frazier, Floor: Wick Terrell

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

In a not-particularly-close vote, Taylor Sparks takes home the #21 spot on the ranks. There was a vocal minority against the pick (including myself), though none of us could agree on who deserved it, so the young 3B takes it home. There's no denying his power potential, but he strikes out at a rate that few prospects have ever overcome. Granted, it was his first season in pro ball, but that's gotta improve, and fast. A familiar and frustrating name joins the fray today.

Juan Silva, 24, OF

Highest 2014 Level: A+ (Bakersfield)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
48 walks and 49 strikeouts in 307 PAs.  34 steals in 43 chances
Most Worrisome Fact:
.127 ISO and injury problems
Alias(es):
High Ho Silva

People may not expect to see Juan Silva on the list, yet.  However, he's always been a guy I've liked.  He plays good outfield defense, and has shown the ability and willingness to take a walk at every level.  He's drastically cut down on his strikeouts from early in his career, lowering his strikeout rate every single year.  The problem is he has shown very little power.  In the California League, which is notorious giving players a power boost, he only hit 4 home runs in 2014.  He's never had over 500 PAs in a season, and only 307 last year.  I don't know specifically what his injury was, but it seems like he barely played in the latter half of the season.  The Reds have had Silva take it slow, only making it to A+ after six seasons in the minors.  He's 24 coming in to this season and hopefully they will be more aggressive with him.  That all depends on Silva staying on the field.

Carlton Daal, 21, SS

Highest 2014 Level: A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
Nothing truly eye-popping yet, but his .334 OBP ain't too shabby.
Most Worrisome Fact:
39 errors in 95 games in 2014
Alias(es):
Alfonso Ribiero, New York Daal, Amon Daal II

The system got a bit more middle infield depth with the addition of Eugenio Suarez this winter, but the SS position is still one of the weakest in the organization.  Daal started the season in Dayton, which would be his first taste of full-season ball, and slashed .296/.334/.351 in 95 games before being shut down with a wrist injury in late July.  Daal managed to swipe 13 bases, and by all accounts showed good range at SS, but he committed a boat load of errors.  Scouting reports previous to this season all had him as an above average defender, and the majority of his errors were of the throwing variety, which led many to believe his issues were more mental than physical.  As long as he doesn't have a lingering case of Steve Blass disease, he should be able to get the errors down.

Junior Arias, 23, OF

Highest 2014 Level: A+ (Bakersfield)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
Missed a lot of 2014 with injuries, but stole 60 bases across 2 levels in 2013
Most Worrisome Fact:
Hates walks. HATES them.
Alias(es):
Don't Call Me Jodi; ??

Junior Arias is another low-minors toolshed. A plus runner with a big arm and some power, Arias was briefly tried at 3B before moving to center field, where many scouts think he can stick. He lost most of 2014 to a broken leg, but stole 60 bases in 2013. Arias has never walked much (career-worst 2.2% BB-rate in 230 Hi-A PA in 2013), but he's got power, speed, and defense working in his favor. He's getting old for his level, so he needs to pick up the developmental pace a bit, but he's got some tools to succeed. I would guess he starts in High-A Daytona, and moves to Pensacola relatively quickly if he performs.

Jeremy Kivel, 21, SP

Highest 2014 Level: Rookie (Billings)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
9.7 K/9
Most Worrisome Fact:
12.0 H/9, 4.6 BB/9, and a 1.844 WHIP
Alias(es):
Evil Kivel, Kivel Dead, Jui-Jitsu Jeremy

Jeremy Kivel was a taken in the 10th round of the 2013 draft.  He was considered a risky pick because of college commitments, but with one with high upside.  Kivel has a live arm and a very athletic build, and there is a lot of talk about his MMA hobbies.  The Reds have been taking it slow with Kivel, having him play in Rookie ball the last two years.  2014 was an up and down year for Kivel, striking out almost 10 batters per nine innings, but allowing way too many to reach base.  He was very hittable and wasn't stingy with the walks.  Kivel still has a lot of potential which keeps him on our lists.  Kivel should start the season in Dayton, and if he performs well, he could get a shot in Daytona.

Ismael Guillon, 22, LHP

Highest 2014 Level: A+ (Bakersfield)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
Career K/9 over 9
Most Worrisome Fact:
On 40-man roster, still frequently sucks
Alias(es):
Call Me Ismael; The Guillontine; Moby Dickhead because he hasn't put it together

I can't believe you people made me put Guillon on this list. He is infuriating. That changeup is filthy, sometimes, and his fastball is solid for a lefty, sitting low-90s and touching a bit more. For some dumbass reason, he was signed to a contract early on that required he be put on the 40-man this year, so his options are dwindling faster than his skills are progressing. But there's still solid stuff there, and I do think Guillon could be a solid bullpen piece eventually, I just don't know if he'll put it all together in time to do it for the Reds. He was still over a year younger than league average in Bakersfield, but that doesn't matter when you're burning options like wastoids burn doobs.